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    Thursday, April 6, 2017

    Live From The 205 (4/6/17): Four-Way Or The Highway

    There's a lot of talk about RAW After Mania and SmackDown After Mania, but the 205 Live After Mania is one solid outing from top to bottom, the only way the Purple Show knows how. Of course, having a single hour for 205 Live to do its thing and showcase a lot of good action helps a lot, and more and more it's getting harder for them to botch it when they're really in the zone.

    205 Live makes a lot of logical moves, especially when they press the soft reset on the Cruiserweight Championship scene just for Austin Aries to justifiably challenge for the title again after losing at WrestleMania. I like that they didn't just push forward with an unearned rematch just because Austin Aries vs. Neville is still a hot feud.

    What still needs to happen, though, is that there has to be some authority figure maintaining order in the entire cruiserweight division. The establishment of 205 Live, and the way they've been marketed ever since, means they're not just some arbitrary classification under the RAW brand. To me they really do seem like their own brand extension, only tucked in under RAW as blocktimers the same way Eat Bulaga! is merely under GMA because Tito, Vic, and Joey bought GMA airtime.

    If it's not Kurt Angle making the matches either on RAW or 205 Live, and it really does seem like he's not the one doing so, then somebody really has to. The commonplace multi-man matches to determine a new #1 contender for the title is starting to make less and less sense—why were Akira Tozawa and Brian Kendrick part of the previous one but not this week's? Why are TJ Perkins and Jack Gallagher back in title contention when the Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme clearly places them well beneath it?

    Don't get me wrong—I love watching 205 Live, and the action is truly great. It's easily the best hour of pure, straight up wrestling on the main shows. I will recommend it to anyone who wants to watch people beat each other up the best way possible. I just want to see it take the extra steps necessary for it to be the best show it can be, because right now? I don't love it more than SmackDown, and I want to love it more than SmackDown. The cruiserweights are my guys.

    Short stops

    • Welcome to 205 Live, Oney Lorcan. I didn't even know he was under 205, because he seemed built like Cesaro, but it's easy to forget about a guy like Fabian Aichner. He should've made it to the second round. Anyway, even though the roster doesn't need it at the moment (it's so full that guys like Gran Metalik can't even get a look, apparently), I hope Lorcan does hang around. Maybe form a tag team with Drew Gulak now that they've chosen to push Tony Nese. (Where is Nese, anyway?)

    • What the hell are they doing to Rich Swann? How is sending presents to another man's girlfriend, a guy who isn't doing anything to you, acceptable babyface behavior? I didn't ask for Swann to become a major creep. What's the matter with you?

    • Great outing this week from Tozawa and Kendrick, but at this point, they're going to need to slow down with all their one-on-one matches. Unless this is the blowoff for their feud, where Tozawa finally gets a win over Kendrick but not before tricking him, they're going to need to interact indirectly again before building up to a big 205 Live main event. A couple of weeks from now, if it were me.

    • Glad to see that the Brits of the UK Championship Tournament share the same universe as the Cruiserweights. They're getting their own Network show and Jack Gallagher is apparently challenging for the UK Championship soon, and I hope that means we can get guys like Mandrews, Pete Dunne, and Tyler Bate coming for the Cruiserweight title too.

    The Cruiserweight Division Power Rankings (as of 4/6/17)

    WrestleMania and this week's episode of 205 Live was big for the Power Rankings, as the Smarkometrics Experience Extreme (tm) worked overtime detecting changes in the purple landscape. Naturally, there's a new #1 in town.

    • 1. Neville (champion), #2 last week — Neville finally ascends the top of the mountain after an emphatic title defense at WrestleMania. It was surprising, for sure, to not get a fanservice ending to the Cruiserweight Championship match, so I can only wonder what they have planned here. We were definitely ready to see Aries come in tonight with the ube belt over his shoulder, though.

    • 2. Austin Aries, #1 last week — Or perhaps it was a voluntary decision on Aries's part to give the rub to the young'in at WrestleMania. Neville did just come off a bad year, and it's easy to forget that in his Sheamusization since turning heel. If they still have plans for Aries to win the title at another time, it was great of him to defer this one to Neville when he needed it most.

    • 3. Akira Tozawa, #5 last week — Regardless of who was in the #1 contender Fatal Four-Way, there's no doubt that Tozawa is now the clear #3 in the division so far. A win against Brian Kendrick and another win against Drew Gulak in Main Event will do that for you; the only problem is he's still stuck in this Kendrick feud until they say so.

    • 4. The Brian Kendrick, #3 last week — Kendrick drops one spot after a humiliating loss to Akira Tozawa this week. Has been quiet otherwise

    • 5. Mustafa Ali, #4 last week — Waiting for a chance to break through, Ali looked real good in the Fatal Four-Way after not eating the pin (that honor went to our very own TJ Perkins). He did lose to Neville on RAW, though.

    • 6. Jack Gallagher, #8 last week — Jacky Boy gets back into good graces after (bafflingly) getting a shot at a shot at the Cruiserweight Championship. These things really don't make sense, but it was an opportunity for Gallagher to show that he isn't just a comedy character, regardless of what they make him do with that umbrella on occasion. 

    • 7. Rich Swann, #9 last week — Bounces back with a nice little win against a hard-hitting Oney Lorcan this week, but is still fucking creepy.

    • 8. TJ Perkins, #14 last week — Our boy TJP makes the biggest climb in the rankings this week, thanks to a combination of a decent main event performance chasing the title and the fact that everyone else ahead of him is nowhere to be found this week. Let's hope they build on something new for TJ moving forward.

    • 9. Drew Gulak, #11 last week — The only undercarder who appeared on TV to push his conservative crusade. I'm a fan. 

    • 10. Gran Metalik, #6 last week — Missing on TV, but appeared on Axxess. But Axxess isn't canon, so...

    • 11. Tony Nese, #7 last week Conspicuous in his absence. 205 Live really needs to do some NJPW-style multi-man tags, but they do only have just one hour to work with. NXT makes it work, though; not everyone needs to wrestle every week.

      • 12. Noam Dar, #10 last week — Apparently injured? This may explain why Rich Swann finally revealed himself as the most obvious secret admirer in the world.

      • 13. Ariya Daivari, no movement — The Smarkometrics Experience Xtreme (tm) ranking system puts Ariya in the same spot, mostly because he's more likely to show up. He'll show up to lose, but he'll show up. Not like...

      • 14. Lince Dorado, #13 last week — We're at a point where we're really not sure about the next time we're going to see Lince Dorado on TV again.

      • 15. Oney Lorcan, not ranked last week — Helloooo Oney?

      Photo from WWE


      Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul.
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      Item Reviewed: Live From The 205 (4/6/17): Four-Way Or The Highway Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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